Monday, August 4th, 2008
Several shoreline protection projects set to begin this fall
By Nancy Allen
Some long-awaited shoreline protection projects on Grand Lake that have been tied up in engineering should begin this fall, reported Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Craig Morton on Saturday.
Funds totaling $450,000 allocated six years ago and another $250,000 allocated this year will be used to do several projects that involve the placement of riprap (large stones) along the shore, Morton told Lake Improvement Association (LIA) members at their meeting. The funds were leveraged by State Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina.
The projects include placing riprap on the north side of Prairie Creek, building a dike at the mouth of Prairie Creek to protect a wetland and fish spawning area behind it, placing riprap in two places at the mouth of Chickasaw Creek and placing riprap all the way around Safety Island.
"We plan to have bids go out in August and hope to get it all done this fall," Morton said.
Morton also reported that permits to build an 23.5-acre dredge material relocation area (DMRA) in the Anderson area located near the Mercer County Sportsman Club, just off state Route 703, have been approved.
State park officials will begin building the broken concrete perimeter in the coming weeks.
The project drew the ire of a Sierra Club official who requested a public hearing to dispute the dredging project. No one from the Sierra Club attended the Feb. 21 hearing where several local officials and residents spoke in favor of it and none against, but it slowed the permit process.
The project involves dredging sediment from several channels near the Mercer County Sportsman Club, just off state Route 703, and placing the dredge material in the lake along the shoreline to build the wetland. The dredge material relocation area/wetland will start at the shoreline and be constructed 750 feet out into the lake, with a width of 1,500 feet.
The area will be in a cove that already is too shallow for boating, said Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Assistant Manager Brian Miller for an earlier story.
The DMRA will give state park officials an area to place dredge material from channels they plan to clean out during the next several years, Morton said.
Morton also reported that water samples at all the public beaches continue to come back within safe levels for bacteria. Boaters' swimming beaches also tested very safe, he said.
Local state park officials plan to restart the West Bank boathouse project, which has hit a few snags since test digging began last month. The first involved local state park officials having to rework the design to make the project come in on budget. The most recent one had to do with digging the foundation, Morton said.
"We got down to about 9 or 10 feet trying to find a firm bottom and we still couldn't find it, so we looked at some other locations," Morton said.
Those other locations didn't pan out and state officials plan to call the contractor back to start digging again at the original location in a couple weeks. Morton said it will cost more money to do ($15,000).
The project involves building a boathouse with three bays for watercraft from the state division of watercraft, state division of parks and Mercer County Sheriff's Office. The total estimated cost of the project is roughly $55,000 and it is being funded by the Ohio Division of Watercraft, Mercer County Commissioners, LIA, city of Celina for laying electric lines to the site and other possible local organizations that will provide matching funds.
Morton also reported that:
• There will be a significant law enforcement presence on the lake during next weekend's Bar Stool Open, the LIA's premier putt-putt golf fundraising event.
• The lake's water level was about 1 inch above normal pool late last week.
• The Celina Rotary Dog Park being built on state land on West Bank Road near Celina is progressing and likely will be opened next spring after grass has been planted.
• Boaters should lock down their fuel tanks and any containers of gasoline, as the state park has experienced an increase in fuel thefts in recent weeks.
• Park officers and watercraft officials conducted several rescues of sinking boats in recent weeks.
The next LIA meeting is 10 a.m. Sept. 6 at the Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge in Celina.